Cast Blog: #80PLATES

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Avery Pursell: "I Felt That I Did Not Perform Well"

Final Destination

The Suspense is Killing Me

Homeward Bound

Food Reigns

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Meat Sweats

Atta Girl!

The Final Four

Axis of Evil

Big Trouble in Little China

The Future is Hong Kong

Rocket Science

The Third Opium War

Cheating In Chiang Mai

Under the Radar

The Thai That Binds

Okie Dokie

Full of Bologna

Troop Bologna?

Pick Up Your Game!

My Baloney has a First Name it’s J-E-N-N-A

When in Rome...

Super Tuscan

That's a Spicy Meatball!


Down in Africa

Funky Cold Medina

Spice Girls

The Art of Culinary War

Prawn Stars

Barcelona or Bust

It's in His Lisp

My Retirement Plan

Allons-y a Lyon!

Truly Exceptional

Lyon for Lambs

Truck Nutz

Playing the Game

The Dog's Bollocks

London on a Plate

Piss and Vinegar

Avery Pursell: "I Felt That I Did Not Perform Well"

The 80 Plates winner answers our questions about her finale menu and kicking off Nookie. Going into Uruguay, what kind of state of mind are you in the moment? How tired are you?
AP: I’m so exhausted mentally and physically! It’s really catching up to me now…. I’m just looking at the light at the end of the tunnel and this is it this is the shot to get closest to the prize! How did you decide what dish to make? What went through your mind when you realized you couldn’t make fish?
AP: I went into the challenge letting the shops make the choices for me. I really just went into each store ready to go into any direction so that I could adjust and make changes as needed. Although I really wanted to do seafood, I knew my ingredients would work well with chicken also. I wanted to try and do something a little different since I counted on the other two going for beef. You make a comment that Nookie could vote you off at any moment — why haven’t you voted him off earlier than this? Like in the last challenge?
AP: I’m not sure what the next challenge will be and keeping Nookie around could benefit me. I do want to go up against the best and I think Nookie is extremely talented, but I’m confident I can beat him as What finally made you decide to vote Nookie off instead of Liz?
AP: I voted Nookie off because he has a tendency to play this game and “work smarter and not harder” as he puts it. I don’t want a repeat of Thailand and somehow he beats me with a tactic rather then pure cooking skill. I think that Liz will battle from her heart and passion rather than on a strategy. Ultimately, I want this to be a cooking showdown. Also, without a doubt Nookie would have sent me home had he the same opportunity. I’m using my smarts in this case and want a safe cooking challenge. How did you feel about your sous-chefs? How did they work out for you?
AP: I was very happy with both my sous-chefs! I would have loved a little time for us all to come up with a game plan before entering the kitchen so that we could have blown some socks off, but ultimately they really worked hard for me in this last battle, and I couldn’t have been happier! They are both very talented chefs, and I respect them in their profession as well as that they both had the integrity to work hard for my win without grudges towards me, since I had voted on sending them both home. When you saw who you were cooking for, what went through your mind?
AP: I‘m honored to once again be serving such amazing chefs that I look up to and respect. The biggest thought on my mind was, “This is not enough time to properly represent what I’m capable of.” Did you get to taste any of Liz’s dishes? What did you think?
AP: I did not get to taste any of Liz’s dishes, but I did see them go out. She had a different take on the task of presenting dishes representative of our trip around the world. I replicated dishes we had done and the tips and authentic flavors from the countries. Her dishes were infused with that thought, but she put her own spin on them. I felt that I did not perform well, and in fact it was one of my off days. So I was extremely worried after seeing our differences. Did you find it helpful to have your daughters and aunt there? Or did you find it distracting?
AP: When my girls walked in it completely threw me off! I just wanted to hug and kiss them after being so long without them. It was a complete tease! Also, being so exhausted, it was straining enough to keep myself together. What went through your mind when Cat and Curtis announced the winner?
AP: I was in shock! I really thought I had done myself in with my off day! Of all days to not be 100% it had to be the finale! WTF! I came into this competition purely for the exposure to new cuisines and the opportunity to compete with other professionals. My only goal was to not be sent home first, and I exceeded my own expectations! Then, I was just so excited that I had made my girls so proud. They never doubted for one instance that I was a winner, and I fulfilled that idea for them. Priceless! I’m proving to my girls what hard work, integrity, and determination will bring. We know you get a car, but what are you going to do with the rest of the money?
AP: The money is a down payment for a new house for my daughters and myself. I’m so happy that I’m able to provide this for them! How has the fan response been so far? Any updates to your career, etc. since the premiere?
AP: The fans have been absolutely amazing! I have gotten such a great response from everyone. It’s still surreal to me how many supporters I have! I’ve also gotten a good amount of other amazing chefs showing support! I’m always so hard on myself, and it’s so awesome to see all these people who seem to really respect my work and talents. I’m so humbly thankful for every person who has shown support -- truly amazing!

Careerwise, I’m looking forward to a few amazing opportunities. I have had offers continuing work with Chef Ramsay and his incredible team! I look forward to working with other chefs and hoping this might open those doors. I will always continue to cook at private parties and events and hoping that this will peak potential clients interest in contacting me. I also am looking forward to doing some more restaurant consulting! Of course a show of my own would be a dream come true, and I might even invite Nookie to come on. Ha! Honestly, that would be a great show!! Ha! What was the most memorable moment for you all season? What was your best dish?
AP: Most memorable moment would have been arriving in Morocco! My eyes opened to the possibilities of adventures in countries I would have never imagined visiting! Hearing the chanting and being in that city with the chaos and people was life changing for me. I am so thankful for the traveling experience. What celeb chef would be her ultimate to cook for?
AP: Cooking for or in Thomas Keller’s kitchen would be amazing!! Anything else you’d like to add?
AP: I am so extremely thankful for the opportunity of being on the show the overwhelming support from my two inspirations in life Zoe and Sophie, friends, family, other chefs, and fans. Thanks to all the other talented chefs on the show and of course Chef Stone and Chef Cora for being great mentors and the whole production team! Life has a way of throwing some serious curveballs, and perseverance and faith in the opportunities that lie ahead of the dark corners kept me going and paid off tremendously. I believe that remaining humble, thankful, and continuing to be open are the keys to being a great chef and individual, and I will always stay that way so that I can further myself professionally and personally. I look forward to the next chapter and what else life and my career has in store for me….


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Meat Sweats

Again: why won't anyone vote Nookie off?!

Welome back, my little empanadas! I hope you all had a restful and delicious July 4th. We're almost at the end -- this week in Buenos Aires represents the penultimate episode. We're down to four.

Avery had to pick her partner for this episode and obviously selects Nookie, leaving John with LIz to team up. Let's get right on Course. First, the chefs have to take a taxi to the Rincon Norteno Empanada Shop. There, they have to make and sell 80 empanadas to the locals. While none of the chefs claim to have any empanada experience, John makes a comment that he used to make calzones at a pizza shop, and they're the same thing. Honestly, he's not too far off. Avery says that since she and Nookie are used to cooking for the masses, they have an advantage. And apparently she was right. They plow through their empanadas much faster than John and Liz, partially due to the fact that Liz burned an entire batch. Has anyone else noticed that Liz has a sense of urgency in her interviews, but she doesn't seem to have it in the kitchen? She knows what she should be doing, but just doesn't do it! Poor, John. 

The next goal for both teams is to find Parque Rivadavia and sell 150 pesos worth of empanadas. Nookie and Avery actualy get off to a slow start, selling each empanada for $5. This is mostly due to the fact that Avery does her math wrong. Liz actually very astutely says that her team could sell two for $5 and still have enough. Althoguh I thought this actually might pay off for them, it doesn't. Nookie and Avery still win. Avery is thankful to have Nookie on her team and she should be. I think it woud have been a very different scenario had Liz made that mathematical error on Nookie's team -- he wouldn't have been as forgiving. Also, on a total sidenote, how awesome were the locals? When Nookie offered one gentleman kisses from Avery he replies, "My woman is enormous," implying she could fight Avery. I lost it over this. After selling their empanadas, the chefs have to find Cat and Curtis at Puerto Madero. Although John and Liz are the more athletic pair, Nookie and Avery still win -- rickety subway and all. Next time I complain about the NYC subway (I'm a bus girl), i will remember that thing they rode on. Yikes. 

For the Takeover, the chefs will be serving a family-style Argentinian meal at La Tranquera. I have actually never been to an authentic Argentinian restaurant, but I love meat, so I don't know what I'm waiting for. Since Nookie and Avery won the Exceptional Ingredient, they get time to see how to properly grill meat Argentinian-style. This includes goat, which Avery then takes on as her dish. Nooie goes with a skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, which sounds like Argentinian food for dummies to me. Liz tries to redeem herself from earlier by making empanadas, which is either really smart, or really, um, not smart. John makes a vegetable dish. 

Let's start with Liz, who makes chorizo and corn empanadas, which are literally two of my favorite things on earth, so I would've loved to try these. Everyone enjoys them. In fact, one of the locals asks for a recipe. And in case anyone was wondering, you eat empanada with your hands. She wins Most Valuable Chef, which we'll get back to in a moment.

The diners also love Avery's goat, probably the most traditional of all the dishes. Avery reveals her favorite part of cooking is butchery and filleting. I think this says something about her but i'm not quite sure what that is.

John's vegetarian dish shockingly did not go over well with the Argentinians. I actually think he would've been cut some slack by Curtis, etc. had it actually tasted good, but the execution was still a little off. I'll never fault someone for trying to balance a meal by including a vegetable, though.

And Nookie cut his meat, which is a huge no-no. And it was overcooked. Since the meat continues to cook at the table, it just went way over. And he knew that but obviously said to Cat and Curtis that he didn't take it into account. His chimichurri was also sizzling.

So the vote was down to John, Avery, and Nookie. Although I thought John was slightly delusional in thinking he was part of the real alliance, Avery did say "I have an alliance with Nookie and John." Yet, John got voted off. I have to say I'm continually confounded by people not voting for Nookie. I really think if Avery had voted for him, she could've focused on beating John and LIz in the final -- two people who remain their own worst enemies. But now she has to worry about one of the best competitors in the competition. I just don't get it. Although Cat praises Avery for wanting to win against the best in the finale, which I can appreciate, at this point in the game, I don't believe Nookie would have done the same. Also, I don't know that Nookie has proven that he's the best chef, so Avery could've felt OK about voting him off. But, anyway...

Next week we'll find the chefs in Uruguay! Until then, Have a Nosh!



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